Which User Story is more complex?

Team Estimation Game
BayXP – October 2007
Estimating User Stories Without Numbers
(Well, almost.)
What is Complexity?
Which item is more complex?
A 50-piece jigsaw puzzle
A 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle
What is Complexity?
Which task is more complex?
I want to drive to San Francisco.
I want to fly to the Moon.
What is Complexity?
Which User Story is more complex?
As a user I want the system to remember my
login information, so that I can log in faster.
As a user I want the system to learn my
preferences, so that I can work faster.
What is Complexity?
Working definition:
The more complex thing is the thing with more
Something to remember:
It often takes about the same number of words to
describe a simple thing as it does to describe a
complex thing.
Estimation Problems
Excessive detail
Estimation turns into design
●Attempting to achieve precision
Reluctance to commit
Estimates are really just best guesses based on
current information. You'll have more
information later.
Estimation Without Numbers
Estimates are based on relative story complexity.
Relative estimates are easier than absolute
Game Play
1) Place Story Cards in pile on table.
2) First player places top card on playing surface.
3) Next player places top card on playing surface
relative to first card.
4) Next player can either:
Play top card from pile, or
Move a card on the playing surface, or
5) Repeat Step 4 until
a) no more cards remain in pile, and
b) no player wishes to move a card
The Project
Develop Website TeamEstimationGame.com
Types of Users:
1) Customer
2) Developer
User Story format:
As a <type of user> I want <capability>, so that
<business value>.
Game Play
“Let the games begin.”
Quantifying Complexity
(This is the “almost” part)
Saying how much more simple or complex
than other Stories a particular Story is.
Estimation Units
- Hours or days
Ideal Time
- Ideal hours or ideal days
Story Points - No units
- ____________________
Estimation Values
Consecutive - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5...
Exponential - 1, 2, 4, 8, 16...
- 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13...
- ____________________
Game Play
6) As a team, choose estimation units and values.
7) Place an estimate at the top of each column.
8) Change estimates until all team members
1) How many columns did you end up with?
2) What estimation units did you choose?
3) What estimation values did you use?
4) How would you modify Game Play?
5) Q & A